(NOTE: The following is an unedited press release from the Diaspora For Buhari Project-UK; For release on Tuesday, 27 January 2015)
PRESS RELEASE: Nigerians in United Kingdom Endorse Buhari for President
An organization based in the United Kingdom, BUHARI SUPPORT ORGANISATION DIASPORA UK, an umbrella group of several Muhammadu Buhari supporters, has endorsed General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), for the presidency at next month’s election.
This was contained in the communique of at least five (5) groups who jointly hosted the representative of General Buhari, Hon Farouk Adamu Aliyu, to a well-attended and educative Interactive Evening in London on Monday 26th January 2015.
The groups who came together to establish a united Nigerian front for the General are: Buhari Diaspora Organisation, Buhari Friends Organisation Network, Progression Solidarity Forum, Buhari Vendors, General Muhammadu Buhari Grassroots Mobilisation and the Diaspora For Buhari Project.
With the Convener of the group, and Chairman of the event, Chief Wale Kalejaiye welcoming the guest, Hon Farouk Aliyu to London, as well as the audience, the session kicked off to a good start with the introduction of special guests, amongst who are the His Worshipful Mayor of Lambeth, Councillor Adedamola Aminu; Chief (Dr) Ibrahim Emokpaire (Chair APC-UK); Hon Odaro Omorege; Alhaji Abdulkadir Maikudi; Dr Dapo Oshun-Williams; Mrs Jana Shodiya (Ayaba); Mr Rasheed Taiwo; Mr Charles Emuko-Whate; Chief (Mrs) Uche Mill; Air Vice Marshall (Rtd) Funsho Martin (Parton, Hope Movement) amongst others.
Hon Farouk Aliyu introduced himself and apologised on behalf of GMB, explaining that the schedule of the election campaign in Nigeria put a constraint on the travel plans of the General, who has now had to shelve plans to travel to the Vatican, the US and the UK before the election on 14 February. However, GMB sent his goodwill messages and warm wishes to his supporters in the UK and the Diaspora in general. He assured Nigerians of the right CHANGE and that he and his running mate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo are committed to doing their utmost to ensure Nigeria is turned around. He especially reiterated that Prof Osinbajo has been of tremendous assistance to the cause – dedicated, loyal, focused, knowledgeable and a true and patriotic Nigerian.
He assured the enthusiastic audience that the GMB/PYO group, as well as the party itself have identified the problems and the real issues affecting the people of Nigeria and are working towards readiness to tackle them once they get into power.
Hon Aliyu talked about issues and how GMB/PYO are planning to tackle them: corruption, education, insecurity of life and property from Boko Haram, failure of the PDP to turn the country around in 16 years of being in power, etc.
He further said that they do not want any violence or bloodshed and that the GBM/PYO will concede and accept defeat if the elections are free and fair. They will only go to court if they know a lot of rigging has occurred to put the PDP government back in power.
He assure the audience that all the negative perceptions of Buhari – religious fanatic who is against Christians, Fulani hegemony who believes in “born-to-rule”, rigid, certificate, etc – has been debunked already in Nigeria and around the world and would not serve the PDP well to continue to dish out falsehood and slander.
Chief Wale Kalejaiye, in his response said there are more than 2 million Nigerians in the UK alone and about 14 million worldwide. He assured GMB/PYO of the Diaspora’s highest esteem, and promises to continue to work for them to win the election, as well as to provide support even after the election to ensure Nigeria changes for good. He said most Nigerians in the Diaspora believe that the GMB/PYO is a good combination and ideal candidates for Nigeria’s emancipation and redemption.
The Mayor of Lambeth also took this opportunity to endorse General Buhari, and emphasised that political manifestoes are just pieces of papers unless the contents are implemented, not only nationally, but down to the states and local government levels so that all the levels of governments are working at the same level of understanding and in tandem to develop the country. Only when this is done will a manifesto be considered effective and implemented. He also called on GMB/PYO never to forget Nigerians in Diaspora and their achievements in various areas of human endeavour all over the world. He pointed out the amount in billions of Dollars and Pounds Sterling that Nigerians repatriate home every year, which is more than the entire budget of several states in Nigeria. Nigerians abroad are assets to Nigeria and must be recognised and exploited by any responsible government that wishes to do well for its citizens. He urged Brain Gain instead of Brain Drain, and assured all that Nigerians abroad are always ready to contribute to and serve their country if sincerely given the chance and the enabling environment. He also called on the GMB/PYO to ensure that Nigerians in Diaspora are able to vote before the next election in 2019.
There then follows a very robust, educative and penetrating, well-informed interactive session of questions and answers from the mostly professional Nigerians ranging from diaspora voting, job creation, women inclusion and empowerment, care for the disabled, prevention of rigging, the contentious PVC, how will the new government source money for its proposed programmes on job creation, healthcare improvement, transportation and roads rehabilitation, improving communication, boosting agriculture, uplifting education, creating social welfare, and many other issues of importance and concern to Nigerians.
Hon Aliyu was very much up to the task and responded to the highly penetrating and interrogative questions expertly and with great knowledge and sincerity, putting his reputation and that of GMB/PYO on the line, and even giving the audience his personal phone numbers and email addresses. And the answers left many in the audience satisfied and assured that Nigeria is on the way to greatness, if and when GMB/PYO assumes the peoples’ mandate, come 29 May 2015.
Later in the evening, Chief Kalejaiye, on behalf of all the groups presented some token sum of money, contributed by ordinary Nigerians in the UK to Hon Aliyu as a contribution to the campaign of GMB/PYO, as well as presented 2 laptop computers to aid the collation of results as well as other logistics. Chief Kalejaiye explained that apart from these 2 laptops, 5 laptops have already been delivered to the GMB/PYO campaign efforts in Nigeria and assured that more funding, laptops and other equipment are forthcoming before the elections.
The night ended with the launching of a “Phone A Relative for Buhari/Osinbajo” campaign. It was very colourful as Hon Farouk Adamu Aliyu flagged off the launch when he cut the ribbons and placed a live random call to a voter in Nigeria, urging him to vote for Buhari/Osinbajo in the next presidential election taking place in February 14. The receiver of the call responded in excitement that his entire family will be voting for Change on the Election Day but equally urged all Nigerians to do the same.
Photographs and hope filled the air with enthusiasm as Nigerians looking hopeful that our country will be great again once Buhari and Osinbajo are sworn in on 29th May 2015.
Akintokunbo A Adejumo
Chief Wale Kalejaiye
Dr Garba Sani
Diaspora Campaigns Strategist